Paul Jeffrey, January 14, 2010

Dear friends in my supporting churches,

I’m behind in writing to you all, as life has been crazily hectic in recent weeks. I was in Haiti and then in southeast Asia, with a trip to conduct a workshop in Europe in between. And when back in the Northwest I was spending a lot of time with my mother, who died in December at age 88. We’re having a rousing celebration of her life this Saturday, and I’m very conscious these days of how thankful I am for her love and nurture and support for so many years.

I thought I had carved out several weeks to catch up on writing and photo editing, and was planning a trip to India for late February. On my list of things to do in the meantime was write a witty, informative and moving letter to all of you in my supporting churches. Instead, I’m headed to Haiti on Saturday evening right after my mom’s service. So today I’m busy charging camera batteries, cleaning lenses, and buying granola bars.

As you are all aware, the earthquake in Haiti, whose dramatic vulnerability is rooted in centuries of colonialism and exploitation, is one of the worst disasters in recent years. The logistical challenges faced by aid agencies are daunting. Access to food, water, electricity and internet service (critical for a journalist) will remain difficult for some time. I’ll be carrying a satellite phone because local systems are not functioning well. I’m going with a tent, prepared to sleep out in the open if needed. And I’m not even traveling directly to Haiti, as air access is limited; instead I’m flying to the Dominican Republic and will try to make my way overland from there.

Once I get to Haiti, I’ll be covering the activities of member agencies of the ACT Alliance, which includes Church World Service and UMCOR. Those agencies need your generous support right now, as the needs in Haiti are immense and costly.

I have two good friends who have not been heard from since the quake. I’m keeping them and their families in my prayers. Join me in praying for all the people of Haiti, for the sisters and brothers from around the world who are struggling to get in to help them, and pray with me for strengthened bonds of friendship between Haiti and the United States. We are the closest of neighbors, and have much to learn from each other.

It’s not clear how long I’ll be in Haiti, but at some point I’ll be in touch. Perhaps then I’ll be able to share with you news of an exciting new ministry opportunity for Lyda. It’s not official yet, so I can’t tell you, but the best news is that she’ll be a lot closer to Eugene than New York City!

Thanks for your support for my ministry, and your commitment to ministry with all of God’s people.

In God’s peace,

Paul

Paul Jeffrey
United Methodist missionary
www.kairosphotos.com/pauljeffrey

 

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